Interview with Benjamin Von Wong
Hey everyone, this is kemah here and we are so excited to have benjamin bond wang back in the creative live house benjamin how you do it I'm doing fantastic yourself I am doing great so we are going to be replaying your your class for photo week here on our photo week special edition and that classes anatomy of an epic photograph so let's talk about epic what does epic mean to you a pick to me I think means just making things really look larger than life exaggerating perspective making things look crazy it's really I think ah perspective in a way of looking at your images and the word epic is a little bit overused I mean we use it a lot in the internet culture nowadays but when I'm what I'm trying to say at least what I try to say in this presentation is really go over the fact that anybody can do ethnic especially photographers because that's really what we do we take things that ordinary and put them into perspective using combination of lighting, composition you know colors and all ...
the rest and for those of you who are trying to push yourselves a little bit farther to make your work stand out just a little bit more well it's really just a matter of perspective so that's kind of what I run over in the class and your your images your photography certainly stands out what what are some of the elements? What are some of the other things that you talked tio in in the class itself? Well, I kind of break down everything from start to finish and it's really it's really a serious of stories where I break down preproduction, shoot and post production. I think that the class is really not so much technical as it is inspirational, because at the end of the day, whatever skills you need to acquire can be found quite easily on the internet. But nobody really teaches you how to see the world or how to how to look at things and, you know, stay positive and make things happen. So that's, really the general vibe and feel of what I go over. So your images tell incredible stories. Um and I love like the flame siri's, and it clearly takes a lot of work to put these shoots together. Tell me a little bit about how you communicate what your story is, what it is that you're aiming for with this team and what are the team members that usually work with? How do you bring the models? The makeup artists, the stylist? How do you bring that all to life? Um, I think that when you look at the image and you try to grasp how it's all put together it it gets really overwhelming in the start I mean, you look at it and it's like, wow, how did you find all the locations a costume that I mean it's so many different elements but if you break it down it's actually the same basic elements that you find in every single photo shoot you needn't have hair and makeup you need a location, you need models you know you need your concepts and you needed my union a master techniques and like all of these things are these very, you know, repeatable things except that they're scaled up a little bit larger. So when you explain to a model the concept it's generally the same thing except that instead of saying, well, we're going to do the shoot in the studio, I say today we're going to do the shoot on the on a cliff for going to do the shoots you know, in the middle of the water, underwater even and and that's usually what I find personally makes makes the chutes seem larger than life and seem a little bit more epic on my end of things, I definitely always try to challenge myself and push myself farther just because I I mean, I think that I would really stuck in the studio setting because the interest isn't there like what what drives me is the adventure meeting people trying new things and pushing myself farther, so every shoot is more or less indicative of that, and I constantly strive for bigger, better things that if you want to put it that way. So that's really interesting to me, what do you find is more valuable to you? In the end is that they experience itself or that final epic image or can they be distinguished? I think I think it's a little bit of both, but definitely the adventure is what drives me and what what pushes me to continue and create because, um I mean, I mean photography to me is almost incidental. It just happens to be the means for me to do what I love to do and what I love to do is I love to travel. I love to meet inspirational people. I love the adventures that come come along with it. I love technical challenges, I love inspiring people like all of these elements just happened two times photography because it happens to be like the one thing that I'm half decent at doing. So I really don't have another choice if I want to get out there and do all this stuff, and I think the cool thing about that is that in the event that one day I get bored of photography for whatever reason, as it as it happens to a lot of professionals, if they do it too much to get a little bit bored of it, well, I can transition one day and I can do video our canoe direction, like into production on it wouldn't really matter, because I can still do what I love, which is essentially, you know, that whole bringing people together, building out an adventure, creating awesome stuff without necessarily locking myself down to a single trade. So, yeah, that's definitely, I think probably something that distinguishes me a little bit more from the average photographer. I love that. Thank you for sharing that because it it's so often we get caught up in what is that final image and and that we're creating, whereas the creation of it really is the beauty of what what we're doing. Thank you so well, that's what that's? One of the reasons why I have behind the scenes videos and block post of every single photo shoot I do, because I think that that journey on how it comes together is just as important as the final picture, because the final picture only tells half the story. I mean, how did everything I'll come together, you know, where did the concepts come from and there's a lot of element? Does that come into making something like that possible? I mean, you might look at my work and say wow band bond while you're amazing but at the end of the day if I didn't have these amazing people contributing to making this photo shoot you know as amazing as it is then I wouldn't have anything to shoot I think I just have a camera with in those subjects so it is at the end of the day a very collaborative projects and you know, the behind the scenes and able you tow to tell that story so there's a very, very important to me yeah, I would think that when people look at your images and they look at the final project product and they probably have similar questions that you hear over and over which again makes having those behind the scenes videos s so powerful but what what is one of the most common questions that you get when people look at your work? I think I think the most common question surprisingly enough isn't technical but really is people going with you get your inspiration from and, you know, I think this is a funny question because I like to tell people all the time that what they're probably lacking is not inspiration but rather the motivation to get out there and do things because people have ideas all the time you get ideas walking out outside talking to friends you know, meeting people you know, reading something on the internet it sparks all these different ideas in your mind, but but that percentage of people that are going to grasp that inspiration and make something happen out of it is very, very small, so at the end of the day, people usually tend towards things that are a little bit safer, a little bit more repeatable without trying to push their limits and boundaries because either they're scared of failure or they don't want to put in the work or effort that's to say so when I checked, when people ask me, where do you find her inspiration? I say, well, the same place you do just by living by living life by going around by trying to find things and meeting different people and exploring the land and, you know, keeping an open mind and and grasping opportunity when it comes I don't feel inspired twenty four seven I don't lie and sit in a coffee shop and doodle out brilliant idea after brilliant idea this act really very little of that almost all of my projects come from working together with people I'm I'm a facilitator I think if someone comes up with an idea, I have the resources to kind of pull people together, I have the if there's one thing that I'm good at it's motivating people and getting them to get excited about something so that we can do something all together. I think that's probably my greatest strength and for anybody who is looking for inspiration, my advice is the next time you feel inspired, just go up there and do it make make something happen right away. Don't ask questions don't think about how complicated it's going to be. Just get out there and do it, and you'll be surprised at what you can achieve. I love it, I think that's a theme that we that we talk about here, over and over on creative live because it is there's so many people watching and so many people learning, but it's, those that actually go out and do that are are making a difference. Speaking of making a difference, I would love to talk with you and hear a little bit about this incredible project that you are working on right now. The stabilizer project. Tell us how this all came about and how we can all get involved. Well, he's saving elisa project is actually a completely random thing that just happened about a month ago. I was in the plane between malaysia and singapore and I get this random email from editor in chief of peta pixel deal cages this this plea for help that he had he had heard about this family off in south carolina also complete strangers to him with a little daughter that had a four year old degenerative brain disease, and if they didn't manage to raise a million bucks in the next two months, she was never going to get a cure in time. So at the moment, there was a cute they're ready to go. All the need is the funding available, so they just need to raise money and I and you know, you think about it and you're like the only thing you know usually hear about funding research from the fund, something that's very nebulous and non tangible. But this time around it was actually a cure that's ready to go, and the only thing that was missing was money, and they had fundraise on their own probably two hundred fifty thousand dollars in the last six months, which is amazing for a small little family. But there was no way they were ever going to meet their target deadline, so they needed a viral video they needed something that would pick up enough media attention to go on dh. I was just reading that on the plane, I think it took me about twenty minutes of consideration of whether or not I was going to be able to do something like this, and he just replied, you know, in three very basic lines like, I I'm in I'm not the best, but you know, if they can wait a couple of weeks, I will more than gladly finally over and make a video for for them. So, you know, a couple weeks later, I bought myself a plane to get gave a conference to fund the trip so it's on t shirts to fund the trip for another behind the scene videographer and then we had we were just there three strangers tagging along with the family for ten days and made a video for them. The video went live last wednesday and it's being featured on huffington post, new york times and a bunch a bunch of new sites and has raised approximately one hundred thirty thousand additional dollars in the last five days, which is great, but at the same time, we're talking about needing a million dollars so it's really, really hard to raise that much money so it's all about just getting the word out there, seeing where it can spread to we've released press kids for anybody who's got contacts in the media industry the link is www dot saving elisa dot com for anyone who wants to go check out the video it's only two and a half minutes long and really, if you could just share, it will make a huge difference because it's, just about getting the word out there, I think we received about two dollars for every view we've had on the video. So it's a really high donation rate, we just need that video to spread and we got some more news coverage coming up from abc and whatnot, so fingers crossed. We'll see what happens on dh see how it goes. Well, fingers crossed for sure, benjamin, that is an incredible story. And how amazing it is that you can impact one person's life in such an amazing way. And of course, not just allies about her family through the random connection of emails and then just going and doing it. So thank you for sharing that story and let's see what the creative live community khun dio to further that fundraising and get that video out there. Everybody thank you again to benjamin longwang. Where can everybody find out more about you and your site? Von wang, dot com just google. One long there's, one long everything on twitter, on youtube and everything. So by all means, just go me and pretty much all over the place. And if you have any questions, feel free to email me. I do reply to every single email. Sometimes it takes about a month, but they do get through them eventually, on be more than happy to hear about any feedback you have. Fantastic. Well, thank you for everything that you do, benjamin, for this industry, and we'll see you next time. Thank you.